Education trade unions’ view on keys for proper use of digital technologies in education


In the framework of the implementation of the Digital Education Action Plan, the European Commission is working on a proposal for Council Recommendations on enabling factors for digital education and improving the provision of digital skills. The two proposals are expected to be published at the beginning of 2023. With regard initiative on enabling factors for digital education, on 7 November 2022, the ETUCE Committee adopted a Statement outlining the essential points to address in the text of the initiative.

ETUCE welcomes the effort of the European Commission to implement positive use of digital technologies within education. At the same time, ETUCE warns that preparedness and approaches to digital technologies widely vary at national, regional, and local levels. Therefore, identifying enabling factors is not only a difficult exercise, but it even risks leading to a one-size-fits-all approach, detrimental to teachers, students, and the quality of education alike. Therefore, within the statement, education trade unions call on the EU Commission to:

  • Emphasising quality and inclusive education through digital technologies as a focus of the Recommendation, rather than calling for digital education as it was the ultimate aim and the inexorable strategy to ensure quality and inclusive education.
  • Addressing potentials and risks of digital technologies, through the set-up of a solid regulatory framework for digital technologies including the opt-out right of those digital technologies that violate the rights of teachers and students.
  • Framing the initiative with a needs-based approach within the holistic mission of education. In this context, it is essential to consider digital tools as supportive tools for in-presence teaching to guarantee high-quality education to all students and preserve the invaluable social aspects of learning.
  • Dropping the attempts to privatise and commercialise education through quantitative-based and cost-effective approaches aimed to maximise the outcomes at the minimum cost while failing to address the core value of education as a human right and a public good.
  • Underlining the importance of sustainable public investment for quality education and continue building on the commitment to public investment in education within the Ministerial Declaration on investment in Education (2022) and the UNESCO Paris Declaration on investing in the future of Education.
  • Raising awareness on the impact of the EdTech industry that turned education into a multimillionaire market without regard to the quality and the real needs of teachers and students. In this respect, ETUCE remarks that the profit-driven nature of the EdTech industry clashes with the mission of education which is primarily a public good and a human right.
  • Emphasise the central role of social dialogue with education trade unions and collective bargaining in education policies regarding digitalisation to implement an effective whole-government approach in education.

ETUCE remains committed to cooperating with EU institutions on the upcoming Council Recommendations to ensure that digital technologies in education can be truly beneficial for teachers’ and students’ needs and the quality and inclusiveness of education.

Read more:

Improving digital skills in education. What are the needs of teachers?

ETUCE Statement on enabling factors for digital education and improving the provision of digital skills